The UAE boosts its innovation standing by 2 ranks to remain 1st among Arab Countries in the 2020 Global Innovation Index
During a meeting with a number of local entrepreneurs from across the UAE and representatives of institutions and SMEs incubators, H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, confirmed that supporting SMEs is a top priority in the Ministry's agenda and in ensuring the growth of national economy in the future. The business ecosystem is currently focussed on adopting tangible measures to find practical solutions to all challenges related to entrepreneurship and strengthening mechanisms for its stability and prosperity across the country's various vital sectors, he said.
The meeting was attended by H.E Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; H.E Sanad Al Meqbali, Chairman of the Board of the Emirati Entrepreneurs Association; and Ibrahim Shahin, Vice President of the Emirati Entrepreneurs Association and discussed the demands of local entrepreneurs, representatives of institutions and SMEs incubators. It also discussed the need to set a clear vision to identify the priorities and procedures during the next stage.
H.E Dr. Belhoul listened to the views of the attendees and exchanged his views with them on the most important topics related to empowering entrepreneurs and creating a new business approach based on cooperation and strategic partnership between MoE and entrepreneurs to find common solutions that contribute to the prosperity of the industry and its growth.
The meeting also reviewed the Ministry's vision for the next stage in addition to discussing all the solutions that are currently being studied. The meeting further discussed various measures to reduce the cost of doing business, diversify financing options and facilitate banking procedures, and ways to expand the scope of incentives and facilities, especially those related to governmental purchases.
H.E added: "Several measures have been adopted at the federal and local levels to support the sector and increase its contribution to the national economy. SMEs have received a great deal of attention from the UAE and local governments during the past months in light of the COVID-19 crisis in the form of support and economic stimulus packages that have been announced. MoE and its partners will continue to work towards initiating these projects and supporting the capacity and continuity of their activities, which will have a tangible positive impact on the country's SME sector."
Falasi praised the efforts of various stakeholders in the country for their efforts to empower citizen entrepreneurs in every way, contributing to the creation of a new generation of entrepreneurs who are capable of supporting the national economy and increasing its diversity, thereby enhancing the country's global competitiveness in many vital sectors.
"SMEs represent the backbone of the global economy and serve as a flexible tool for governments to support their economies. The sector makes up for about 90 per cent of companies in the world, and in some developed countries such as South Korea and Japan, its contribution reaches up to 99 per cent. SMEs contributed 52 per cent to the UAE's non-oil GDP in 2017, H.E added.
The Government of the UAE seeks to continuously enhance the competitiveness of the business environment in the country and introduce various programmes and policies that contribute to maintaining the advanced position of the country globally. As a result, the UAE ranked fifth globally in entrepreneurship according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) index.
H.E further underscored MOE's keenness to work intensively along with all partners at the federal and local levels through the UA SME Council and the National SME Programme.